Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, October 13, 2005

Graphics: 7.50
Sound: 6.50
Gameplay: 7.50
Replays: 7.00

Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne is a new adventure game from Kheops Studio, developers of Echo, an adventure game I reviewed earlier this year that was an absolute joy to play. And while there are some similarities between the two (the focus is more on puzzles and exploration than story), Voyage ends up being a very different experience, for better or worse.

Graphically the game has a very interesting look to it. You start out on a rocket bound for the moon and soon reach it, revealing the first interesting point of the game. Kheops has taken Verne’s vision and taken it their own way; the moon is abundant with different colored plants and plenty of things to see. There are very few cinemas in the game, although the few that there are aren’t too bad to look at. For the most part, story scenes are told through still art comic frames that sort of look like lithographs or even older newspaper clippings at some points. Although it won’t put the game ahead graphically when compared to other adventure games, it fits the style the game is trying to provide, which is a plus. The environments are very detailed as well, and there is always a lot to see and do.

There are only three real voices you will be hearing throughout the game; the main character Michel’s comments on events, the narrator explaining what is happening in the brief story scenes, or the high ranking Selenite dignitary who will communicate with Michel. Otherwise, the other Selenites will speak in their native language, which is an interesting mix of musical sounds. What English voice acting here is pretty well done, and Michel actually ends up being somewhat witty at times. There isn’t all that noticeable or even great background music, which is a little disappointing as Kheops could’ve done some very imaginative things considering the setting. Some of the sound effects make up for it, but not by much.

Voyage mostly consists of exploring the areas on the moon, discovering more about the Selenite civilization, and solving plenty of puzzles. The game uses an inventory system similar to that of the one in Return toMysterious Island, allowing you to combine items directly in the inventory. There is one flaw with the overall inventory system though. Although there are numerous pages to keep your items in, you can only carry three of a specific item at a time, making for unnecessary backtracking to get more items throughout the course of the game. And there is also no real way of organizing items, as you usually just put them into whatever slots are currently open.

The game is also somewhat more open ended than the traditional adventure game. Selenite civilization has a working currency system, so you will be able to sell and buy items. Be careful about what items you sell though, as if you need to buy them back later you will be charged more than you were given for it. A little ways into the game an Intelligence system is also introduced, and you will have to work to raise this to advance through certain segments in the game. It is possible to repeat certain puzzles/activities you have mastered at times in order to raise your intelligence, which adds to the open ended gameplay (you can advance the way you want by choosing what you want to solve first).

Voyage isn’t going to appeal to everyone as there isn’t a lot of character or story development. However, those that are drawn into all of the alien culture and other aspects of the in-game world and puzzles will absolutely love the experience. But for everyone else, this is a try before you buy title. It may not be as great as Echo, but Voyage is still a decent experience overall.

Overall Rating: 7.00

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